Can I Share Dial Up Internet Service Over a Wireless Network?

Many different colored ethernet cables plugged into a modem


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Sharing broadband internet service over wireless networks is not very difficult with today's routers and other home networking equipment. But what about those folks still stuck with dial-up internet — can they share too?

Is It Possible?

Yes, it's certainly possible to share dial-up internet access across a wireless home network or other wireless LAN (WLAN).

Wireless LANs easily support the amount of bandwidth required to share dial-up internet service. Dial-up runs at such low speeds, however, that internet connections will perform sluggishly on WLANs, particularly when trying to access it with multiple computers at the same time. Try any of the following approaches to make it all work as well as can be expected.

Wired Router With Wireless Access Point

This option requires three pieces of hardware in addition to wireless network cards for the client computers: a wired broadband router, an external modem, and a wireless access point. Connect the external modem to this router for internet access, then connect the wireless access point to the router for wireless access. Not all broadband routers support external modems; look for those that feature RS-232 serial ports.

Ad Hoc Mode With Windows ICS

Alternatively, you can try Windows Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) or equivalent software that relies on one computer hosting the Net connection. This option requires at a minimum that the host computer has a modem (either internal or external) and that all wireless network cards be configured for ad-hoc (peer-to-peer) mode. This option works best if you only have a few home computers located close to each other.

Those who prefer the first option usually already own a wired broadband router that supports external modems. Because the second option requires neither a wired router nor an external modem, it is usually cheaper and easier to set up for those building new home networks from the ground up.


You may also consider purchasing the WiFlyer product designed to operate as a dial-up router. This option is the simplest to install of the ones discussed here but most expensive in terms of equipment cost.

Other Specialized Wireless Routers

If none of the above options are feasible, you'll need to find a wireless router that features an RS-232 (serial) port in order to share the dial-up line over an external modem. The mainstream models today do not feature such a serial port. Products that do tend to be discontinued models or higher-end routers designed to use dial-up as a failover option. Some residential routers that provide serial ports for external modems are:

  • ZoomAir Internet Gateway IG-4165
  • SMC Barricade 7004AWB
  • Early models of the Apple Airport Base Station